Have we fallen asleep in life?

By Jacki Wood, That they might have joy column, Nodaway News Leader

In a letter to Trevor Haddon in April 1884, Scottish novelist Robert Louis Stevenson wrote: “Keep your eyes open to your mercies. That part of piety is eternal; and the man who forgets to be grateful has fallen asleep in life” (Letters vol. 4:276).

How many of us have fallen asleep? Or become blind to the abundance we have been blessed with? I know I have at times.

It may be because we’re going through some rough times. Or that dreaded “b” word we use too often – we’re too “busy.” We become distracted by so many things, even good things. Or maybe it’s because there are so many wonderful things around us all of the time, we just take them for granted.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf said: “Our minds have a marvelous capacity to notice the unusual. However, the opposite is true as well: The more often we see the things around us – even the beautiful and wonderful things – the more they become invisible to us. That is why we often take for granted the beauty of this world: the flowers, the trees, the birds, the clouds – even those we love. Because we see things so often, we see them less and less.”

I’ve been especially guilty of this lately. And then a couple of weeks ago, we sang “How Great Thou Art” at church. I was so overcome with this feeling of love from my Heavenly Father, I was unable to sing the words. It’s one of those hymns that always fills me, but on this occasion, I was feeling especially grateful for its powerful words:

O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds thy hands have made,
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed:

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!

When through the woods and forest glades I wander
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees,
When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze:

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!

And when I think that God, his Son not sparing,
Sent him to die, I scarce can take it in,
That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then I shall bow in humble adoration,
And there proclaim, My God, how great thou art!

Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:
How great thou art! How great thou art!

During this season of giving and Thanksgiving, I hope we can all wake up a bit and open our eyes to the many blessings we receive. And in turn, share what we can, and maybe even do a little more than we’ve done before.

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